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December 13th, 2021

NDP: Liberals must fix cut to GIS for working seniors before the end of the week

In a letter to the Prime Minister, New Democrats are asking the Liberal government to reverse the cut to GIS for seniors who were eligible for pandemic benefits before the House rises this week

OTTAWA – On Monday, New Democrats are again calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government to reverse the cut to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) that is making it difficult for working seniors to make ends meet. Many seniors who were working to supplement their GIS prior to the pandemic were eligible and applied for emergency benefits when the pandemic robbed them of their employment, and now the government is using this against them and cutting the support they get in GIS. The NDP is urging the government to fix this cut in support for seniors before the end of the week when the House rises until January 31st.

"Your government stood by and said their hands were tied when the richest companies took pandemic support to pay bonuses to wealthy executives or to pay dividends to rich shareholders. Instead of making the wealthiest pay back the help they took and didn’t need, your government is going after our country’s poorest seniors and putting them in an impossible situation," said NDP Finance Critic Daniel Blaikie. "Working seniors already struggle to make ends meet. Denying them the GIS, or severely reducing it, as a result of last year’s emergency benefits is not only unfair but will make it impossible for some of them to make rent. The point of the emergency benefits was to prevent evictions and keep food on the table, not to merely delay homelessness and hunger."

In addition to today's letter and the times Jagmeet raised it directly in meetings with the Prime Minister, since August New Democrats have written multiple letters to the Liberal government, have asked for an emergency debate and have repeatedly stood in the House asking for this problem to be corrected. Yet still, the Liberal government has failed to act and seniors across the country are facing evictions.

On Monday, Blaney will also be putting forward a motion in the House of Commons asking all Members of Parliament for Unanimous Consent to fix the problem so working seniors can maintain their full GIS benefit.

"One senior wrote to us to say that not only was he failing to make ends meet with a drastic cut in his GIS payments, but he’s also dealing with a recent cancer diagnosis – and an upcoming eviction on December 23rd, that's two days before Christmas if the Liberal government doesn’t reverse this cruel decision hurting him and some of our country’s poorest seniors," said NDP Seniors Critic Rachel Blaney. "The Liberal government promised to have people’s backs for as long as they needed help. Seniors helped build this country and they need us to have their backs now more than ever. If we fail to fix this, thousands of seniors might be out on the streets in the coldest time of the year. We can’t let that happen."